On Wednesday, Donald Trump posted a lengthy series of tweets quoting conspiracy theorist and conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root: "President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world," adding, "the Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God."
According to the Washington Post, Root has promoted numerous conspiracy theories on his show, "including that former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States, that Democratic National Committee staff member Seth Rich was killed by any one of a number of prominent Democrats, that a mass shooting in Las Vegas was coordinated by Muslims and that the person responsible for the death of Heather Heyer at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville was paid by a wealthy Democrat."
Trump also quoted Root chastising American Jews, roughly 80 percent of whom vote for Democrats according to the Pew Research Center:
But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for all Jews, Blacks, Gays, everyone. And importantly, he’s good for everyone in America who wants a job.
This came a day after Trump commented on Israel barring two Democratic congresswomen from entering that country, something that Trump publicly called on Israel to do, accusing them of hating Jewish people and tweeting: “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit...They are a disgrace!” On Tuesday, Trump said, "Any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat—I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."
Conservative commentators like Ben Shaprio—who has condemned claims that Jewish American have "dual loyalty" to the U.S. and Israel—were quick to claim that it's not entirely clear what Trump meant by the "great disloyalty" comment. But Trump helpfully provided a clarification to reporters outside the White House on Wednesday: "If you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel."
The "dual loyalty" trope is a common anti-Semitic belief which, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), "alleges that Jews should be suspected of being disloyal neighbors or citizens because their true allegiance is to their coreligionists around the world or to a secret and immoral Jewish agenda."
As Talia Lavin wrote for GQ, American conservatives have frequently accused their opponents of anti-Semitism while using anti-Semitic talking points themselves. Trump has, as Lavin details, repeatedly alleged that Jewish American citizens are more tied to Israel than America: "At a White House Hanukkah party, Trump told a gathering of American Jews that Israel was 'your country.' More strikingly, when blood ran on the streets of Pittsburgh after the pogrom at the Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018, Trump did not meet with community leaders of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, nor the family members of the dead, nor even the city’s mayor. He spoke with Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States." Trump's message to American Jews, Lavin writes, was clear: "You are not from here; you are not of this country. If you don’t like it, leave."
According to the ADL, a European Union survey of Jews in Europe found that 89 percent of respondents believed anti-Semitism is on the rise. Anti-Semitic incidents have been surging nationwide since 2015, and the ADL also reports that assaults against Jews in the U.S. more than doubled from 2017 to 2018, from 21 incidents to 59. The 2018 figure also includes the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, where a man inspired by Trump's rhetoric about immigrants murdered 11 members of a congregation known for working with recent immigrants. In a manifesto he posted online, the shooter wrote that the members of the synagogue were working to "bring invaders in that kill our people."
In recent weeks, some Republicans have raised the specter of anti-Semitism as a convenient distraction from detention camps and racist tropes. And the Jews are tired of it.
Originally Appeared on GQ